Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon has today received Australia’s first National Preventative Health Strategy from Committee Chair, Professor Rob Moodie of the Nossal Institute for Global Health at the University of Melbourne.
The 307 page report includes a broad range of recommendations to be implemented in three stages until 2020, to reduce the burden of obesity, alcohol and tobacco on Australian’s health and wellbeing.
In total, the overall cost to the healthcare system associated with these three risk factors is in the order of almost $6 billion per year, while lost productivity is estimated to be almost $13 billion.
“This is the first ever National Preventative Health Strategy – providing the Government with a road map of guidelines to address these significant health issues,” says Professor Moodie.
‘The Strategy provides recommendations to firstly establish volunteer approaches to educate and change community behaviour before introducing regulatory, pricing and taxation approaches. This is the best opportunity we have had in a generation to significantly improve the health of Australians, “he says.
“Implementation is the key, but it must be implemented over several phases.”
“This requires progressive, comprehensive, and determined action over the next ten years. We must not let up. We must not sit on our hands.”
“This is the key role of the new proposed National Prevention Agency which will be established in early 2010. It endorses progressive, comprehensive, determined and sustained action, “he says.
Recommendations include strategies that address:
• Environmental planning and active transport; Working with food industry to encourage healthier food composition; encouraging physical activity and better provision of information in workplaces, schools and to specific groups including pregnant women, low income and disadvantaged groups including Indigenous communities
• Phase out the marketing of food and beverage products aimed at children before 9 p.m. on free-to-air and Pay TV, and phase out premium offers, toys, competitions and the use of promotional characters.
• Increasing the price of cigarettes; major public education campaigns including reducing risk of passive smoking by children and halting all promotion of tobacco products including adopting plain packaging.
• Changing the way Australia grants, manages and enforces liquor licences; changing the drinking culture; communication of information; phasing out alcohol promotions and advertising to young people ; establishing better pricing and taxation to encourage the consumption of less risky alcohol products
Professor Moodie is available for live TV interviews today via the University’s DVN line.